On your mark, get set, be grateful!
Even though we have a holiday focused on gratitude in the United States that we will celebrate this week, Thanksgiving shouldn’t be the only day we’re grateful. On the contrary, there’s good reason for us to focus on gratitude every other day of the year, too. It’s good for us.
When put into practice, gratitude creates a virtuous circle. It fosters contentment, joy, respect, and connection to our world and its people. You might say it’s a recipe for happiness
Gratitude makes us feel good inside. And when we share it with others, they feel good inside. And you know what happens then? They begin sending their goodwill to more people, who in turn start feeling good inside. Before you know it, good feelings boomerang everywhere, and gratitude grows.
However, suppose you only practice drive-by gratitude or now-and-again gratitude. In that case, you won’t reap the full benefits of it. You’ll get a little in the good feelings department if you give a little. But any feel-good spike drops quickly if we don’t express and practice gratitude regularly. It’s a matter of creating the habit.
Many people have gotten into the gratitude habit with a journal where they record what they’re grateful for daily. That’s good and has positive effects, but it’s rare anyone sees those entries. Think about adding a new dimension to your gratitude habit by being actively grateful. Active gratitude means taking concrete actions to show your appreciation. Here are some ways you can do that:
- Show handmade appreciation for long-term friendships. You can do that with homemade cookies, a personalized T-shirt, a framed photo of you together, or a thoughtful card.
- Support an organization that has done good things for you. Perhaps public television or public radio.
- Mail a handwritten letter to someone who’s made your life better—big or small.
- Create a holiday and name it after the person who means
the world to you.Then celebrate it!
If none of these appeal to you, think of other ways to be actively grateful. And once you activate your gratitude you'll soon be amazed by the virtuous circle it creates.